Spoiler alert

It was a bleak start to the New Year for the residents of Ferndale, with death the predominant subject of Shortland Street's 2019 premiere.

The soap opera returned on Monday night with a one-hour episode, picking up shortly after the events of 2018's dramatic season finale.

The cliffhanger ending saw the lives of father and son Mo and Jack Hannah up in the air, after a plane carrying the two, Mo's wife Kate, and long-running character Chris Warner crashed into a field when the pilot died from a heart attack.

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The new episode confirmed that Mo had succumbed to his injuries, dying moments before the emergency services could get to them. Jack survived despite being severely wounded, but was left traumatised by the death of another one of his family members.

Sitting with Mo's body in the morgue, Chris told his old love rival that he would look after his family.

"That was just me, envying you. Being a lousy friend. There's nothing going on between me and Kate, and there never could be. She chose you, because you're the better man, and she deserves the best."

Chris Warner visits the body of his former love-rival Mo Hannah.
Chris Warner visits the body of his former love-rival Mo Hannah.

Meanwhile, nurse Kylie continued down her vengeful path after the dark events of last year that saw her turn double murderer.

The premiere episode opened with Kylie standing over the body of her husband, Dylan, moments after strangling him. The finale also saw her stab rapist Iain Reid after he was re-admitted to the hospital.

While Boyd suspects that Kylie was involved in Dylan's death, she has currently got away with her crimes, despite angrily confessing to ambulance officer Ali.

Kylie confronted Ali, who she believed knew about her involvement in Dylan's death, and yelled: "I destroyed him and nothing has ever felt so good".

Conveniently for her, Ali started having a seizure, forgetting about her admission as he tried to hide his brain cancer from his wife, Dawn.

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While Kylie is currently free from persecution, it was Ali who ended up facing the cops, after he blacked out while driving an ambulance and hit a pedestrian.

In lighter storylines, Damo and Leanne continued their tumultuous relationship, with the former planning on re-proposing after causing conflict.

While Kylie and Ali's crimes will likely dominate storylines for the next few weeks, one of the final scenes showed Kate tearfully examining Mo's possessions recovered from the crash site, only to discover a bag full of money that belonged to their fellow passenger, Denise, who hid a satellite phone in order to cover up her own dodgy activities.

The mystery about who she is and her involvement in the plane crash remains up in the air, suggesting it will once again be another tumultuous year for the country's longest running drama.